Barbara Windsor (Getty Images)
Barbara Windsor (Getty Images)


Hey, spurious polls. This is the *perfect* woman

A survey of men has claimed to discover what makes the “perfect woman”. Dolly Alderton calls BS, and suggests her own

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By Dolly Alderton on

What makes the perfect woman? A recent survey of over 170,00 men has found she is 5’9” with dark brown hair, brown eyes and an athletic body type. She is of Middle Eastern descent, Jewish, holds a graduate degree, doesn’t smoke and only drinks in social situations. According to this new research, if a woman holds these specific attributes, a man will spend an average of £93.72 to take her on a date. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. This woman sounds great and I’m sure she’s loads of fun. But, personally, that perfect woman description is a little broad brush strokes for me. I think they missed out a couple of things. My perfect woman – the kind of woman I’d like to be – is slightly more complex than that.

My dream woman has the speaking voice – the unctuous big vowels and hard, crisp consonants – of Miriam Margolyes. She has the real-life stories and the screenplay narratives of Nora Ephron, the technicolor, kaleidoscopic metaphors of Caitlin Moran and the perfect one-liners of Dorothy Parker. She rhymes like Maya Angelou. She has the same curiosity of what came before her as Mary Beard. She manages arrogant men with the no-nonsense yet graceful warmth as Sandi Toksvig hosting a panel show. 

She has the audacity to decorate her office with the decadence of Camila Batmanghelidjh. She’s as punk as Viv Albertine. She plays guitar like Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She sings like Joni Mitchell on the 1976 album Hejira.

My dream woman champions other women with the enthusiasm of Lena Dunham posting a picture on Instagram of a new book written by a female author. She laughs like Barbara Windsor. She drinks champagne like Patsy Stone. She has the same joie de vivre as Christine Hamilton sitting on Louis Theroux’s lap at the end of Meet The Hamiltons, at the exact moment she slurs: “well I do like you, I don’t put my arm around everybody” in his ear. 

Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Getty Images)

My dream woman has sex with the same wild, un-self conscious, messy abandon as Emma Thompson’s character in The Tall Guy, particularly the bit when she rolls over and a slice of toast is stuck to her bare bottom. She smokes like Marlene Dietrich. 

My dream woman nurtures like Ma Larkin. She gives the same useful, sensitive life advice as Marmee in Little Women. 

She makes an entrance like Scarlett O’Hara. She can move like Cyd Charisse in Singing in The Rain. And also like Lady Gaga. When she dances to Single Ladies, the choreography is so accurate that people in the club often think she’s the real Beyonce.  It actually gets a little embarrassing. 

She has Joan Rivers’ cynicism, but she suspends it to always hold hands with her lover, openly and joyfully, just like Stephanie does in Gogglebox

My dream woman walks like Marilyn Monroe, like “jello on springs”. She accessorises like Iris Apfel. But she also removes a piece of jewellery before she leaves the house, like Coco Chanel. 

My dream woman has the same accurate judge of character as Lynn Barber. She doesn’t take herself too seriously, like Dolly Parton playing the banjo with a set of bubble-gum pink acrylic nails. She is kind and gentle with all living creatures, in fact she loves animals so much she owns a dog hotel, like Doris Day. 

My dream woman runs like Phoebe Buffay, hosts like Monica Geller and shops like Rachel Green. She wrinkles her nose like Baby, points like Posh, high-kicks like Sporty, winks like Ginger and screams: “ER MAH GOD” like Scary.

My perfect woman hosts a big party in a tiny flat with the same elegance as Holly Golightly. She’s generous when serving side carbs, like Nigella is to her film crew pretending to be her friends. She plays piano like Victoria Wood. She is the same height as Wonder Woman. She writes love letters as long as Germaine Greer’s. 

My dream woman can shout at the exact same volume as Tyra Banks did when she yelled: “I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU, WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU, HOW DARE YOU!”at Tiffany in series four of America’s Next Top Model. She is as fearless and hardy as Calamity Jane. She collects diamonds and husbands like Elizabeth Taylor. 

My perfect woman has Annie Hall’s wardrobe and Amy Schumer’s jokes. She is determined to have a life outside of the office, just like Terri Coverley in The Thick Of It. She has Joan Rivers’ cynicism, but she suspends it to always hold hands with her lover, openly and joyfully, just like Stephanie does in Gogglebox. 

My dream woman is just like Joan Collins; not embarrassed that she cares about her lipstick and hair because she knows it does not make her superficial or subordinate to women who don’t. She runs a business like Sheryl Sandberg. She throws a tantrum with the same panache as Tinkerbell. 

Diane Keaton as Annie Hall 

My dream woman does exactly what a man does and never makes any apology for it, like Katherine Hepburn. She has the biceps of Rosie The Riveter. She will try to run a country, like Victoria Woodhull. And she will run a country, like Hillary Clinton. 

My perfect woman is perfectly imperfect. But she works hard every day at being kind and useful and clever.  

Oh, and obviously she has the same hair as Elle Macpherson, but really, that goes without saying. 


Barbara Windsor (Getty Images)
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